South Kern Sol, Staff
Please join us on Sunday, April 24 to learn how you or someone you know may be able to reduce a low level felony conviction to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47. Doing so, will increase your opportunities for housing, employment, education and more. Proposition 47 ends in 2017.
In Kern County more than 8,500 individuals have taken advantage of the largest felony reclassification effort in U.S. history and successfully reduced their felonies to misdemeanors, according to Tanya Richard with the Kern County Public Defenders office. She estimates that about 20,000 more people living in Kern County could potentially benefit from Proposition 47.
The forum will be held at Compassion Christian Center, 1030 4th Street in Bakersfield from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU) will also be there to discuss your rights regarding law enforcement.
Editors Note: Question and Answer with Deputy Public Defender Tanya Richard from the Kern County Public Defenders Office.
Why should individuals act now?
There is a sunset provision for reducing past convictions to misdemeanors. On November 5, 2017, past convictions will not be subject to reduction under Proposition 47. Past convictions may be reduced under a different penal code section, but the reduction will not occur as a matter of law.
What types of Charges are subject to reduction
Types of offenses subject to reduction include simple possession for personal use of a controlled substance(s) and some theft charges if the value is under $950 and the property is taken from a business during business hours.
Is there a fee to apply?
There is no fee to apply for a Proposition 47 reduction. The courts do not charge filing fees.
How long is the process?
The court requires 25 court days for service. It takes approximately a month for the documents to be processed by the court, once they are submitted. An appearance at court is not mandatory. The Court may grant your request via minute order before the court date. If eligibility is contested, the individual may have to appear at a court date.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Proposition 47 does not restore gun rights. Even after the charge is reduced to a misdemeanor, an individual cannot possess guns, ammunition or other weapons.
The Proposition 47 forms are on the Kern County Superior Court website. If a person applies on their own, Form 500 and Form 502 must be served on the Kern County Superior Court and the District Attorney. The Public Defenders Office can assist or the individual can apply on their own.